2014 Was A Bad Year For Women, But A Good Year For Feminism

Women's rights advocates didn't have it easy this past year, what with the Hobby Lobby decision limiting birth control access, Missouri's Abortion Permission bill and that state's 72 hour waiting period, and SCOTUS coming down against abortion buffer zone requirements. Altogether, not a ton of progress -- and, upsettingly, a decent amount of regression when it came to reproductive rights.

But that didn't hamper significant achievement by women across the globe. In fact, in many ways the feminist movement gained more traction in 2014.

Look at Shonda Rhimes, the woman behind "Grey's Anatomy," "How To Get Away With Murder," and arguably the most successful producer in network television today.

"I think that even if you don't particularly care for her shows, you have to kind of look at what she's managed to do as a woman, as a black woman," Feminista Jones, a love and sex editor at BlogHer.Com, pointed out in a HuffPost Live conversation on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

"To basically co-opt an entire night of television and basically run with that and give all different types of women roles and stuff like that," she continued. "There's room for critique of her shows -- I do critique them -- but I definitely admire that she's been able to command this attention."

And then there's Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old superstar pitcher. The first girl to win the Little League World Series game, Davis was crowned Sports Illustrated Kids "Sports Kid of the Year." While historically notable, the champion athlete can also serve as inspiration to kids of all genders and races across the globe.

"I just can't imagine being a little girl and having her out in the world for me to see, and kind of look at and admire and look up to," Katie McDonough, Assistant Editor at Salon.com, said. "As an adult I think her presence in the culture and her athleticism is amazing, but I can't imagine what that means for little kids right now."

These moments are just a few included in HuffPost's round-up of the 29 best moments for women in 2014. Watch more from HuffPost Live's look back at feminism in 2014 here.

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Social Media
If there's one thing Twitter has shown us this year, it's that there's power in numbers. Over and over again, women came together online to join virtual hands in solidarity, whether it was #BeenRapedNeverReported following the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, #YesAllWomen following horrifying shootings in California, or #takedownjulienblanc to prevent "pick-up artist" Julien Blanc from speaking in countries across the globe. And though many of these issues had a decided focus on women, it was heartening to see men also join in on the conversation.
Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize
AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Not only is Malala Yousafzai the youngest person to ever win a Nobel Peace Prize (which she shared with fellow children's rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi), the 17 year old is fighting specifically for the opportunity for girls to get an equal education to boys.
A Feminist In Power
Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Kathleen Wynne was elected premier of Canada's most populous province, Ontario, in a majority win in June, but to us, her best moment came only weeks ago in a speech at the Women of Influence conference. Among her many unapologetically feminist remarks was this:
Girls Playing With Boys
AP Photo/Kyle Terada, Pool
Mo'€™ne Davis became the first female pitcher in Little League World Series history to pitch a complete-game shutout — and in Canada, Team Canada goalie Shannon Szabados signed on for a full year with men's team Columbus Cottonmouths, and bobsledder (and athlete of the year) Kaillie Humphries will be one of the first women competing alongside men on the World Cup circuit this season.
Emma Watson Talks Feminism For Everyone
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez via Getty Images
When UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson stood up in front of the United Nations to launch HeForShe campaign, she made a point to discuss when men advocate as feminists, everyone can benefit.
Standing Up For Justice
Rinelle Harper, a 16-year-old Aboriginal woman who was assaulted and narrowly managed to escape with her life, made a speech to the Assembly of First Nations last week. Her ordeal has called renewed attention the hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women in the country, and her bravery in being publicly identified helped arrest the men who allegedly attacked her.
Egg Freezing Goes Mainstream (Ish)
Science Photo Library via Getty Images
For women who want the option of putting off having kids (or are still unsure about having them at all), more and more companies (most famously this year, Apple and Facebook) are offering egg freezing as part of their benefits packages. While some felt this could add pressure to work even harder at your job, we say choices are a good thing.
Breastfeeding In Public
Johner Images - Nyman, Fredrik via Getty Images
We're not saying that women have managed to win every battle over feeding their babies in public, but when you have a male, teen Starbucks barista on your side, you know it's becoming less of an issue.
"Feminist" Gets Feminine
Beyonce, arguably the sexiest woman in the world, stood like a statue in front of the word "feminist," during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in August. If that doesn't tell you labelling yourself a feminist is something to be proud of, perhaps Aziz Ansari's quote on the topic might help. "You're a feminist if you go to a Jay-Z and Beyoncé concert and you're not like, 'I feel like Beyoncé should get 23 percent less money than Jay-Z,. Also, I don't think Beyoncé should have the right to vote and why is Beyoncé singing and dancing? Shouldn't she make Jay a steak?'"
Mutual Respect For All Moms
Mom guilt didn't go away in 2014 (and let's be honest, probably never will), but one blog post on our site by a doctor and mother from Australia completely blew up in the best way possible. In it, Dr. Carolyn Ee perfectly explains both sides of the stay at home/working mom quandary — and reminds mothers they're all really in the same boat.
Female Superheroes
With the change from a male to a female Thor this year, Marvel Comics demonstrated its serious commitment to getting all those lady dollars — and we couldn't imagine investing our money in a better place than stories that show strong, tough women who can act as role models for young girls.
Laverne Cox On Time
As the first transgendered person on the cover of Time, Laverne Cox became the face of a new way to define gender. "This is for my trans siblings out there and for anyone who has ever been told that who you know yourself to be at your core is not legitimate," she wrote on Facebook.
Men Making Their Families A Priority
Dads have always played a massive role in family life, of course, but this year, it was at the forefront. The combination of a couple of high-profile stories of fathers leaving their jobs to spend time with the kids, like Mohamed El-Erian and Max Schireson, and commercials (like this Cheerios one) that worked to change the perception of dads, showed a marked change in assumed stereotypes.
Laughing In The Face Of Oppression
When Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinc made statements to the effect of, "[A woman] should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times," Turkish women responded by posting pictures of themselves with wide grins, looking both decent AND gorgeous, under the hashtag #direnkahkaha.

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